At just eight months old, Alec Manoha was keeping a plate of rice and beans. When he was 10, he tore his face while playing in the Youth League Championship, broke his jaw and still finished his journey. In 17 he threw a 6-foot-5, 250-pound, a fastball in the mid-90s, batted .400 and won the Florida State High School Championship.
At age 18, he turned down a six-figure offer from the Texas Rangers to become active, betting on himself to go to college to improve his draft stock. As a 21-year-old in West Virginia, he broke the single-season strikeout record that stood since 1964, was drafted in the first round, and signed for 45 million. A few months later, during his debut for the Vancouver Canadians, he sprinkled a batter with the pitch he dropped – crowding the dude plate, Manohan claimed – before going to play three hitless innings at 100 miles per hour, on the scoreboard.
Yes, he is coming towards you. Size 17 clits running all its 6-foot-7, 260 more pounds downhill, followed by a tattooed right arm and a heavy fastball that bat, sinks and misses across the region. Manohar’s energy comes so easily that he says he never thinks about BB.
Burning! Alec Manoh of WWU – Over the last three weeks: 3-0, 2 CG, 10 hits, 0 walks, 41 K and 31 scoreless innings! #HailWV pic.twitter.com/aMeLGUn7dC
– Mike Montero (@ reddubvu12) April 20, 2019
“I do not need. The speed was always bare. I don’t have to worry about trying to throw hard – it just happens, ”he says.“ It’s a blessing. With my size and arm strength, I can only focus on trying to keep my head and body steady and mark my direction. If I could consistently control my mechanics and keep my head in line, my arm would listen. “
And that’s his challenge – that the only professional career that will end after Toronto selects him at No. 11 in the Manoha 2019 draft. Can this huge, lightning-stricken 22-year-old command his epic, polish his approach, and develop himself as a leading starter? Can he not only blow the northern 90s cheese hitters, but detect it at the edge of the strike zone? Did he throw from the average policy to the college very rarely into the legal arms that he needed to have in the larger system, to establish his change?
Much has changed from the only young starter in the Manoha Blue Joyce system; Looks like they all have. But for him, whether the pitch is on the stick as a starter or on top of that you will be wary of every scouting report you read – there may be differences – it ends on the bullpage.
Not that there will be such bad consequences later. Every good team’s games require big weapons to get out of high leverage late. And as Craig Kimberly, Jack Britton and others have proven, you can have a long, lucrative career with just two pitches if you are consistent and healthy.
But for the best result for both Manoh and Neil J, he is using his exceptionally large frame to log on to the whole starter’s work pressure season after season. Aaron Harang or C.C. Sabathia. Or it could be better.
The strike is called !! Alec Manohar strikes out 3 after leadoff double 3! Tonight is the best strikeout of his career.
M-8, WV2, # 11 TTU0
https://t.co/d8MC7S7h7u #HailWV pic.twitter.com/FRWin3nPbj
– WVU Baseball (ভিWVU Baseball) April 13, 2019
“We firmly believe that one day he will be able to pitch in the big league rotation,” said Gil Kim, Blue Joyce director of player development. “Right now he’s just developing habits that allow him to do it. He’s developing his routine. Mentally and physically, throwing more than 200 innings is the ultimate way to run according to the standards of a big league starter. Alec has already learned a lot about what it involves – and I’m sure he’ll learn a lot more. “
It was a quick learning. Manoa didn’t concentrate on pitching at Miami South Dead High School until her junior year when her older brother Eric graduated and left a hole in the team’s staff. (Eric has played part of six minor-league seasons at the New York Mets and Los Angeles Angeles firms and is now a free agent.) Alec didn’t know the first thing about proper mechanics. He just took the ball and whipped it as much as he could on the plate, usually somewhere around 90-miles per hour.
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While playing the travel ball for the Atlanta Blue Joyce, it wasn’t until the summer that Manoh learned to generate energy with his lower half and developed a more efficient, repeatable delivery. Suddenly his speed increased to 95.
There have been more tweets and adjustments since then and Manoh is now living in the 90s. With the help of a slider in the mid-80s, he learned to watch pitching ninja videos and scroll through the Internet for articles, so that the big liguers could explain how they dropped them. Manoah took the cut grip of Delin Batens, Chris Sales added the way he uses the thumb to use his slider and tweeted it from the angle of his arm to make the action more comfortable.
Of course it wasn’t easy. At the beginning of the process the slider would come out of Manoha’s hand at 90 miles per hour, which was difficult to detect. But when he learned to plow the pitch and slow it down, its size improved and it became a versatile tool. Often, Manoh will use it to get right-handed hitters to leave the zone. Sometimes, he goes back on his hind legs. And occasionally he would avoid it for a knee-jerk strike:
West Virginia RHP Alec Manoh attracted a huge scout audience of around 40 with a few VP / director types. All except a fastball have been 95-97 and this was his first slider. 5 of the 6 batsmen faced through the IP. # 44 in our draft rankings https://t.co/bfNqrcUABB pic.twitter.com/REamQe6gkp
– Kylie McDaniel (@KilliMcD) February 15, 2019
“I try to throw it in front,” he says. “I try to think fastball away. And then when I get to the front, I just turn it off. This type stays in the same plane as the accelerator and then breaks. To the leftists, I’ll run it differently. If I were ahead in the calculations, I would drive it differently. I’m not just trying to flip it over to strike here. “
Changeup is another story. Manoha never needed him against a swing-happy college hitter who couldn’t catch his fastball and waved at his slider. And whenever he dropped his off-speed stuff it would come back to him, the late hitters at Manohar Fastball were just in time for his change.
Manohar lost confidence on the pitch, so he stopped throwing it. But now, facing professionals who can afford his heater time, he needs it more than ever. And its development can only be his whole field whether his career is moving on a rolling or bullpage.
Sustainability will go a long way. Manohah was limited to just 17 innings with Vancouver in his debut match last summer at Lowe – he set a 2.65 ERA in five innings with a 2.5 strike strikeout after logging 108.1 innings with West Virginia earlier in the season. His weight has been fluctuating all his life and a big focus going forward will be conditioning and nutrition, as Manoh tries to tap into athleticsism that can get him into a heavy innings with such a big frame. And continue to make plays like this:
Before the coronavirus shut down this spring, Manoh was working closely with Corey Popam, the pitching coordinator of Neil Jess, using RapassDowa data and editorial video to improve his second weapon. He was training regularly with assistant top pitching hopeful Simeon Woods-Richardson, who was on a similar throwing program with lots of long toss.
Manoh was respecting the arm care routine that would help him adjust from a seven-day college tour to a five-day professional. He was probably on the path to Nate Pearson’s progress, avoiding Lansing at midfield and starting his first full season at Dunedin at High. If the results were restored, he could have climbed to double-A in the latter half of the year, setting the stage for his MLB debut in 2021.
But then baseball stopped. And now nothing is certain. The next step in his progress is likely to be to succeed as part of Toronto’s entry into the summer instructional league or soup-up Arizona Fall League. That exposure against top competition would be great – better than nothing, of course. However, Manohar’s real experience was that he spent the entire baseball season every five days, turning the lineups for several months
Manoh’s 2020 should look something like Pearson’s 2019 – about 25 starts, more than 100 innings, forcing the minors to go north. But since then, no one has played with the idea of 2020 the way it happened. Still 22 years old, Manoha will have to wait for her next chance to slowly come out of the rotation. And he knows exactly what he will do when that day comes.
“I just want to prove that I’m a starter – get out there every five or six days and get fired until they tell me to stop,” he said. “Of course, I’ve shown my potential as a starter. Now, I’m continuing to prove that I’m here to stay. I can command all my pitches that I can run the boys, the boys can’t walk – and just get out. You put your foot in the box and I’ll get you out. That’s all I have to do. “